With their leader gone, village feels lost | india | Hindustan Times
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With their leader gone, village feels lost

The grief-stricken native village of Shekhawat, Kachariawas, came to a standstill as their loved ‘Babo Sa’ (as Shekhawat was popularly known) was no more.

india Updated: May 16, 2010 00:41 IST
Sachin Saini

The grief-stricken native village of Shekhawat, Kachariawas, came to a standstill as their loved 'Babo Sa' (as Shekhawat was popularly known) was no more.

All shops were closed and people gathered in mourning in front of the leader's dilapidated haveli. Some villagers were preparing to march to Jaipur to take part in Shekhawat's funeral procession.

"That's all that is left of him," said his grandson Narendra Singh Shekhawat, pointing to a photograph of Shekhawat hanging on the wall in the haveli.

"Aisa lagta hai uske jaane se hamara kaam dismiss ho gaya hai," (it feels like our work is dismissed now) said 80-year-old Rameshwar Sharma, a resident of the village. Sharma said Shekhawat was their boss and had always listened to them.

"Because of him, development work never stopped in the village. We just had to take his name. It is hard to get people like him," he added.

Eighty-six-year-old Noor Mohammad Maniyari, a childhood friend of Shekhawat's said with moist eyes, "I still remember when he jumped in the well to save me". "Around 40 years ago, I was pulling water from the well and accidentally slipped into it. Banaji (Shekhawat) jumped in to save my life. He has always been there for us even after becoming Chief minister and Vice-President of India. He never changed."

"Everything in village is because of him. Hospital, secondary school and the shiv temple," said Ram Kumar, a villager. Shekhawat's school friend Narayan Lal Lambha recalls, "When he was appointed the Vice-President, Shekhawat sent a message that he wants to meet me." "Of our group of five or six friends, just two are left - me and Noor," he added.